N.C. Launches 403(b) Option for Educators

March 20, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – North Carolina K-12 educators now have an additional retirement vehicle open to them.

North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell and retirement services provider TIAA-CREF announced the launch of the North Carolina Public School Teachers’ and Professional Educators’ Investment Plan, a supplemental 403(b) retirement program for the state’s public K-12 educators.

“I’m excited that we’re launching a high-quality, low-cost supplemental retirement plan for teachers and educators across the state,” says Cowell. “This statewide plan will help teachers and education employees boost their retirement savings.”

The program features 27 diversified, low-cost investment choices and a variety of services designed to help teachers prepare for retirement. According to Cowell, research indicates educators who participate in low-fee plans can accumulate significantly more retirement savings versus those in plans with higher fees.

All of North Carolina’s 115 school districts will have the option to participate in the new program. Participating districts will be able to take advantage of centralized program management, relieving them of significant administrative burdens. In most cases, districts will also be able to take advantage of lower fees, as the new program is designed so fees decline as more school districts enroll and asset levels increase.

Empirical evidence suggests professional, personalized financial education is important to driving successful retirement outcomes for teachers, according to Cowell. This support, under a fiduciary standard of care, is a key feature of the new North Carolina program.

Participating teachers, educators and staff of North Carolina public K-12 schools will be able to access informational services online, via the telephone or in person. Clients can choose to work with a TIAA-CREF adviser or with a local, independent registered investment adviser that has been subject to a robust third-party vetting process.

The 403(b) program was authorized by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2012 and approved by the Supplemental Retirement Plans Board of Trustees this month. The Department of State Treasurer is the program administrator and TIAA-CREF will be the program provider.

For more information, visit www.myncretirement.com.